Saturday, January 09, 2016

Wanderlust: Blessing or Curse?

Is wanderlust a blessing or a curse?  I don’t understand the lack of hunger to explore.  It extends beyond that; music and the arts; museums and live theatre.  Why am I so hungry to plunge into these when others have no interest?  I envy their contentedness—at a shallow level.  I find I am most content when I have calendared the next seminar; get-away or road trip!  Sometimes I wonder if the problem is me and not them.

Am I looking to be filled?  Does adventure equal ego?  Is it all my flesh looking to the next new thing?  Is it topographical ADD?  Certainly there is some synchronicity of personality involved.  It maybe that this tangible want for more is just one side of the coin.

Here’s the flip.  It’s that same wiring (good or bad) that keeps me from being content with the status quo.  Here’s a short list of things that the wanderlust fallout impacts: my hunger for God (“Like the deer pants for the water so my soul pants after You…”), my performance at work (good service should mean pushing for better) and how I date my wife (wanderlust drives me to creative dating.)  Those are some positives. 

So what purpose then?  At the core is the desire for stillness, peace and worship.  Perhaps this is best typified through the words of John Erastus Lester, a reporter and visitor to Yosemite in 1873; 
“To attempt to describe the grandeur of this scene (from Inspiration Point) would be folly; to tell of the feelings of awe, of humility, or reverence, which are here aroused, is all that can be done.  He who tries to believe there is no God is here at once converted in the twinkling of an eye; and his feelings of reverence and veneration, blended with love and beauty force him to a worship at once pure and creedless.”
The partial answer---and perhaps the answer in full---is that the quest for beauty is the quest to taste of Heaven.  In the end it remains C.S. Lewis that said it best; 

"These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols,breaking the hearts of their worshippers.  For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” 


1 comment:

desert argonauta said...

Beautifully expressed. I do not understand those who do not hunger for travel, art or beauty. God graces us with a small taste of the good to come in the grandeur of this world. Oddly - this brought to mind a favorite poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (author also of God's Grandeur). Of course the rhythm of the language is what makes it work too! (Janis Commentz)

Pied Beauty

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; 5
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 10
Praise him.